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Monday, 10 February 2014

Settling Down

Aarti with Moody and Easy     Minali with Rogue,Abheer and Avyay
Sandip was immediately plunged into the complex routine of the course while it took me about ten days to unpack and get my bearings in the beautiful surroundings of Wellington. I realised in just a couple of hours that my maid Mable was super efficient and helpful, so promptly dubbed her 'Able Mable'. Some of the ladies I casually met had decided not to open up all their belongings since it was just an eleven month stay but I wanted to be comfortable so quickly organised house and home.
Sandip introduced me to some of his course mates with their wives and the Kolhatkars were the couple who seemed the most interesting. Both Minali and I were keen to join the riding club, she for the first time and me desperately wanting to get back to something I had passionately loved but had not had the opportunity to indulge in for years.
We walked down to the stables to see what we were letting ourselves in for and were immediately surrounded by friendly faces with a like minded interest. We were instructed to get our riding gear together so helmet, breeches and boots were ordered in the currency used for all manner of items - rum!
In those days this was the most common form of payment and one could buy rations, clothes and most everything else for a predetermined number of bottles. There was even an old man who would come around with gorgeous bunches of wild flowers which had to be paid for in pegs. He would unabashedly hold out a container in which one had to measure out the 'daru' in return for the beautiful blooms!!

Me. Aarti and Minali
 Minali and I quickly became inseparable and shared a relationship that was and still is extremely special! We would often sneak out in the car for long drives up to Ooty for a cup of coffee or a jaunt into the quaint little township of Coonor. The group A-ha had come out with their album The Definitive Singles Collection and the strains of 'Take on me' and 'Cry Wolf' can still vividly transport me back to those magical outings in the winding hill roads. Mani Ratnam's 'Roja' had just released and we thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The hauntingly beautiful music of the film echoed from every hillside and till today I think of the songs in Tamil and never could appreciate the later Bollywood version.
Staff college was the one place where individuals formed groups according to their interests and not because they were forced into sharing space together like in a normal squadron. The friendships formed and the bonds made in this one year will stay with me forever, because everything we did was special and fun and I think the intensity of each experience was felt more keenly because we knew we were time bound.

1 comment:

  1. you look amazing and ur story,really fun to go trough,Roja is my fab movie too.